I think that indoor air pollution does not get enough attention. Most people do not even know that it is a problem because it is not something that we face here in the US. Every year smoke from primitive indoor stoves kills 1.9 million people. It is also considered to be the second biggest contributor to global warming, after the industrial use of fossil fuels.
I think the conjoined climate-energy crises dominate discourse regarding environmental concerns. While they are obviously important, I’d consider these statistics regarding the state of consumption today to be even more alarming though:
“At least part of the rise in global consumption is the result of population growth. The U.N. projects that world population will increase 41 percent by 2050, to 8.9 billion people, with nearly all of this growth in developing countries.
This surge in human numbers threatens to offset any savings in resource use from improved efficiency, as well as any gains in reducing per-capita consumption. Even if the average American eats 20 percent less meat in 2050 than in 2000, total U.S. meat consumption will be 5 million tons greater in 2050 due to population.”
Recycling and correct waste disposal !!! This to me is the most painful part of our waste; that so much can be avoided/disposed of better and it just doesn’t happen-either due to laziness, ignorance, or lack of facilities. Consider these numbers:
* Recycling a single run of the Sunday New York Times would save 75,000 trees.
* If every American recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, we would save about 25,000,000 trees a year.
* The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years
* Each ton (2000 pounds) of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water. This represents a 64% energy savings, a 58% water savings, and 60 pounds less of air pollution!
* Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour! Most of them are thrown away
* Every month, we throw out enough glass bottles and jars to fill up a giant skyscraper. All of these jars are recyclable!
* Every year, each American throws out about 1,200 pounds of organic garbage that can be composted.
* A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to 2,000,000 gallons of fresh water.
As I’ve said on this website before, it’s really up to each person to take responsibility for not only themselves but for those around them when they see something not being disposed of properly. Don’t be afraid to speak up! And your friends will forgive you for resorting their garbage (go light on the scolding though)
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